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There are two in-game concepts called Poise.

  • The player has the stat Poise, which is obtained from Armor, the Lothric Knight Long Spear, Yhorm's Greatshield and the Wolf Ring.
  • And the hidden value "poise health" that determines when your "hyperarmor frames" are interrupted.
    The visible stat Poise acts as a defense stat for this poise health, reducing how much poise damage is inflicted by enemy attacks.

The stagger resistance given by the skills Unfaltering PrayerPerseverance, Stone Flesh, and the pyromancy Iron Flesh are unaffected by your Poise stat. These have their own independent "poise health". The Great Hammer version of Perseverance, however, does activate the player's poise.

 

 The ability to withstand attacks without breaking form 

How Poise Works

In a nutshell, you are only able to resist stagger during "hyperarmor" frames, and your Poise stat determines how many attacks you can take before you can be staggered out of hyperarmor frames. Because hyperarmor frames are not fully uninterruptible and use Poise to determine whether or not you can be interrupted, it would be more accurate to call them "active poise". In the game's code, the supposedly deactivated value for poise is in fact activated during animations with active poise.

All characters using the player model, including the player character, most NPCs, and non-player invaders, have a hidden poise health of 100. All attacks that hit the character will reduce this value, and when the value reaches 0 the character will be staggered regardless of whether or not they are in the middle of an attack with poise frames. The stat Poise will reduce how much poise damage a weapon inflicts to this poise health, by a percentage equal to the amount of Poise. Your Poise stat is always passively reducing incoming poise damage, whether or not you are using an attack with active poise. However, you are only able to resist stagger during active poise, and at any other time you can be staggered regardless of how much poise health you have left.

Furthermore, all attacks and actions with active poise will give a multiplier to your current poise health (usually negative), allowing you to take more or fewer hits before being staggered. The modifiers for normal R1 and R2 attacks on weapons with active poise were greatly reduced in the 1.08 patch, to the point where characters need very high poise to resist stagger from one or two attacks now. However, as of the 1.08 patch, attacks with active poise will now automatically refresh your poise health back to 80% of full after modifiers. For example, if you are using a Greataxe weapon (maximum poise health for R1 is 27) and you have 0.1 poise health before the attack, then as soon as your attack starts your poise will instantly reset to 21.6.  What this means is you can now resist stagger from one or two attacks every time you attack, which allows tanky, high poise builds to play much more aggressively. Weapon arts with active poise have much higher modifiers than normal attacks do, being anywhere from 0.30 to 2.00 vs 0.10 to 0.27, and weapon arts will refresh your poise health back to 100% of full instead of 80%. Attacks that are blocked by a shield do not reduce your poise health at all.

Your poise health does not regenerate, but will immediately refresh back to 100% every 30 seconds or when it's reduced to 0, whichever comes first. In addition, the 1.08 patch made it so that your poise health resets to 80% of full whenever you use a normal attack with active poise and to 100% of its full value whenever you use a weapon art with active poise.

To use poise, you need to know these things: how much poise damage your opponent's attacks deal, what the poise health of your attacks is, and how much Poise from armor you need to reduce your opponent's poise damage far enough to not drop your poise health to zero. In addition, since your poise health resets back to 80% with every normal attack, it would also be helpful to have enough poise so that 20.01% of your poise health is left over, as this will allow you to resist stagger through your opponent's attack every time you attack. For weapons that only have active poise during their weapon arts, this is less important since weapon arts reset poise health back to 100% instead of 80%.

Active poise is found on certain weapon attacks including, but not limited to, Ultra Greatsword, Greathammer, and Greataxe R1s, Greatsword two-handed R1s, fully charged R2 attacks, most Weapon Skills, and the medium and heavy rolls. The 1.08 patch also gave active poise to two-handed Hammer attacks. Testing is still ongoing to determine which attacks have poise frames and what their poise multipliers are.

Sources:

https://www.reddit.com/r/darksouls3/comments/4vnan9/how_poise_works/

https://www.reddit.com/r/darksouls3/comments/58ru20/how_poise_works_in_108/

https://www.reddit.com/r/darksouls3/comments/58ppik/hard_data_about_poise/

 

Stat Poise Information

Each piece of armor has a Poise rating, and your total Poise is the sum of each of your armor pieces. Naked characters have 0 Poise. In general, wearing heavier or more protective armor increases Poise.

As of patch 1.07. the Poise formula seems to reduce the effects of poise for armor and rings added once the player has any poise. Every piece added that increases poise will be subjected to the following formula:

    

 

So if adding the Wolf Ring (12.5 poise) on a character with 10 poise:

Weapons & Poise Damage

Information via Gamefaqs (Some values were changed in the 1.08 patch and may no longer be accurate. They will be updated as soon as the new values are found.)

 Trivia

For a long time, it was believed that the poise stat either didn't work or was intentionally disabled on release, due to a player finding a value in the game's code that determined whether or not poise was active and seeing that the value was 'off' by default. It was later discovered by other people that this value was only turned on during what was thought to be hyperarmor frames at the time, and that poise damage is constantly being calculated at all times but you are only able to resist stagger during attacks or actions with hyperarmor frames.

Boulder Heave is unique among spells in that it also inflicts poise damage. If an opponent is struck by the debris, it will deal a large amount of poise damage. However, spells and skills that cause knockdown do not take poise into account.

Enemies that do not use the player model, such as Darkwraiths, Silver Knights, and Black Knights, do not follow the same rules for poise that the player character and NPCs do.




    • Anonymous

      17 May 2018 12:32  

      Let’s settle this. Poise in ds3 is there, works perfectly fine, but people don’t like how it works. Happen now?

      • 13 May 2018 18:18  

        is it so hard to understand that to make the combat faster poise had to be altered to always stagger because even big weapons attacks come very fast anyways go play dark souls 1 and youll understand what i mean its just another type of combat

        • Anonymous

          29 Apr 2018 12:29  

          I still laugh when people try to justify the lazy Poise implementation in this game. No amount of explanation can justify a 3 foot long thin piece of stainless steel staggering someone who is clad in Steel. "But Poise in Dark Souls was broken!" How so? Even with 61 poise you can only poise through max two enemy attacks unless they are hollows. Even then it's 4 to 5 attacks which are flurries. Most bosses will do infinite Poise damage or will trigger a knockdown no matter the Poise value. So stacking 161 Poise against bosses like Manus is pretty useless. Not to mention getting that amount of Poise you HAD to sacrifice stats. Hell, it takes what, 92 Endurance to get the ideal 61 Poise breakpoint without Wolf Ring. In PvP unless you are a braindead player who mashes R1 against someone with more than 53 Poise. It's impossible to get Poise backstabbed. Nonetheless if you were good at spacing you didn't have to worry about someones Poise. Then there are kicks that are quick and do infinite poise damage which is the literal counter to strafe backstabs unless they perfect block. Seems people with these complaints are inexperienced and fail to improve at the game so they whine. Now we have this braindead R1 friendly Poise system. That's what happens when you cater to the idiotic masses. :-)
          The Remaster will be fun. I can not wait for the salty DS3/BB players whining because they can't improve or learn at the game.

          • Anonymous

            22 Mar 2018 12:49  

            This system is fine, really. I just wish that items that granted poise did as advertised instead of stacking multiplicatively, same for armor. As it is now, if you want to trade with other big weapons with, say, an UGS, you pretty much are required to wear Wolf Ring + 3 and at least one piece of Havel's set. If poise was flat stacking from armor and items that give poise bonuses then it would give poise builds a wider variety of armor to wear.

            • Anonymous

              Poise [DKS3 Wiki]03 Mar 2018 02:12  

              Here's an idea: Keep poise the way it is, as hyper armour, not only does it give ultra weapons an indirect buff due to being able to better utilise poise, but it's mechanically better from a gameplay perspective, no more tanking a hit and running in to backstab (pivot bs' actually require skill now) or just waiting til your opp swings then mashing R1 with a curved sword

              It would be nice if it was balanced a bit more though, you can get 40+ poise for around 36 weight, while full havels gives 50 for 56 weight. Meanwhile if two handing a weapon you can throw on a LKLS offhand for a free 15 poise for 8 weight, allowing you to wear even lighter armor and get away with good poise.

              • Anonymous

                03 Mar 2018 00:31  

                This***** was more fun when it was a stat that just had to be upgraded instead of mathematical equations and 'invisible bars'.

                • Anonymous

                  02 Mar 2018 11:20  

                  How to fix poise: DS1 poise but only active if you have a greatweapon in your hand, have armor that weighs more than a certain amount, and are over 30%.
                  Any better ideas?

                  • 20 Feb 2018 16:29  

                    Please learn how poise works before complaining that it doesn't exist. Poise affects your ability to hyperarmor through your combo even while someone is attacking you. Take from the guy running a max faith/strength build, I can hyper armor through my LKGS combo through spells, boss attacks, etc. Hyper armor makes it so that strength builds can still stand a chance against various bosses. Poise has absolutely no effect on how easy it is to stagger someone when they aren't using a weapon that creates hyper armor frames like most GS and talismans. I'm not saying poise will always save you but it sure helps to be able to just take the hits and keep walking through your combo.

                    • Anonymous

                      04 Feb 2018 20:20  

                      Cheers from, for making tanky builds useless by letting daggers stunlock max poise builds and having max defense shave off around a third of damage, at the low low price of three ring slots for prisoners chain, havels and favor rings +3, the latter two being insanely bumped from ds1, and around 60 *****ing vitality. CHEERS.

                      • Anonymous

                        01 Feb 2018 23:30  

                        Do you all really want the poise system of ds1 back? Where you can poise trough an attack of a 6meter tall giant? Where you can simply walk around enemies and backstab them? I'm good, thank you

                        • Anonymous

                          Poise [DKS3 Wiki]24 Jan 2018 05:59  

                          Even if "Poise" is just a misnomer, and naming it "Hyper armor" because players are calling something that isn't "Poise"..."poise" then it still leaves the question of "Wtf is the point of heavy armor like Havel's in DS3?"

                          Basically no point. If I can get rapier spammed while wearing full havel's (minus shield) and be stunlocked just as effectively as if they were hitting me with any straight sword, curved sword, katana, greatsword, etc, heavy armor has zero point. I'm not saying it had to be identical to DS1 where you could put on full havel's, iron flesh, and then literally just great combustion Gwyn to death without being interrupted or killed...but jesus.

                          Poise (i.e. resistance to flinching/staggering when hit) does not exist for players. You can, however, just change a boolean in the game files to turn it on. Don't, mind you. You'll get banned.
                          Poise is fully functional for enemies and possibly NPCs.
                          The "weapon skill" of talismans - Unfaltering Prayer - gives you temporary poise for the duration of casting a spell (hyperarmour). The exception is the Saint's Talisman, whose version of the skill is bugged and gives you nothing.
                          Large weapons (Ultra Greatswords, Greathammers, etc.) also give you hyperarmour. Poise has no effect on how effective this is.
                          The Wolf Ring has no effect whatsoever. The secondary effects from Yhorm's Greatshield and the Lothric Knight Spear also don't work.
                          The weapon skill Perseverance still works.
                          Poise has no effect on how stable you are when rolling. Equip load % does - the higher the better.

                          This was an accurate list around a year and a half ago ish, 4 months after release. Items that did literally nothing. Item abilities that did literally nothing. I haven't played much recently so I have no idea if it's been patched so it actually functions. But the fact that there is a Boolean in the coding set to "Poise: OFF" for players, but "Poise: ON" for enemies and NPCs, that's fucked. I want to play by the same set of rules as enemies. It's decent enough that they have unlimited stamina and higher than our poise in other games...but to flat TAKE AWAY a stat from us? Fuck that shit.

                          • Anonymous

                            24 Jan 2018 04:45  

                            Fuking sweaty noobs that got their hands on their first tits. Go play some dark souls and come back before you try and defend the game. There is a reason why they are making a remaster

                            • Anonymous

                              24 Jan 2018 04:42  

                              Those who attempt to find good reason to believe poise works in this game are those people who couldnt git gud at the first, second, or even bloodborne. To place an inactive skill in the game to only say that i can have someone with a dagger break my poise when its at 40 because of a soft cap that shouldnt even exist is mentally retarded. Especially since i can hit someone who isnt even in an attack animation that somehow can break my poise by swinging a millisecond after i swing. This is a failed attempt at trying to balance pvp and a combination of bloodborne, demon souls, and dark souls. I can hit someone with moknlight greatsword and apparently they can parry that big ass sword with a tiny as shield. Better yet with their hand. Either do something different or nothing at all. *****ing disgusting

                              • Anonymous

                                23 Jan 2018 10:09  

                                I swear poise seems to work for me when I use two-handed heavy attacks with my straightswords, but that may need confirmation... I do know my small Hammer-Axe User benefits from poise. *shrug*

                                • Anonymous

                                  11 Jan 2018 20:28  

                                  No amount of git gud or hyperarmoring can make this game enjoyable without poise. If a game is more fun to mock than to play is it really a good game?
                                  I don't think DSIII can even be called a dark souls game.

                                  • Anonymous

                                    29 Dec 2017 16:42  

                                    it is helpful in certain situation but I don't know if it is worth running around in heavy armor or waste a ring slot tbh in trade of a huge chunk of my damage potencial. Damage that helps me always...not only in "certain situations".

                                    • Anonymous

                                      15 Dec 2017 18:24  

                                      The soft cap for poise is 30. After reaching 30 poise, all subsequent poise is reduced by 30-33%. If an item grants poise that would put you over 30 it is reduced, even if the final amount of poise becomes lower than 30. There is no "hard cap" or point at which you suffer increased reduction of poise granted. These rules apply to items that grant poise, such as Yhorm's Greatshield, Lothric Knight Long Spear, and the Wolf Ring.

                                      • 08 Dec 2017 17:00  

                                        Don't enter this comment section. You will find nothing but retarded little *****es claiming that Poise doesn't exist and were too stupid to do their research before opening their retarded *****ing mouth. So here is how Poise works, Poise plays into Hyper Armor. Example: A guy in Havel's Armor with a Ultra Greatsword will poise through a man in Knight Armor with a Greathammer. Even though the man in Knight Armor is using a Greahammer, the Havel man will still poise through his hammer because of his Havel's Armor Poise + UG Hyper Armor

                                        • Anonymous

                                          02 Dec 2017 14:45  

                                          Look up "poise breakpoints Reddit" for a rough table on poise you want to hit based on your weapon and what you want to be able to trade with. Only a few weapons other than great hammers are able to achieve useable poise against heavy weapons. Poise trading is primarily for breaking through light weapon attacks with a very large weapon, secondarily for using a weapon art to trade with R1 spam. Only with a devoted build will you be able to poise against most weapons. You can't achieve a high enough poise to trade through the heaviest attacks.

                                          In general: running attacks reduce your poise and poise damage, jumping attacks increase poise damage, 2H is more poise HP and damage, weapon arts refresh poise at a lower rate if they hit multiple times, 2H charged R2s and some weapon arts do higher and have higher poise, great hammer perseverance keeps your poise value active outside HA frames.

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